September 15, 2013


When our Mennonite neighbors’ house was destroyed by fire last year, Nancy and I assisted the family by providing transportation and food. One day at noon, we were invited to join the men who were constructing the new house and the women who were providing the meals.

When I sat down to eat, I found myself sitting with three elderly Mennonite gentlemen.  Most of the older Mennonite population in our area came from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and because Nancy and I lived there for many years, I had more than a few experiences to share with those with whom I was eating.

After twenty minutes, one of the men looked at me and said, “You like to talk, don’t you? Are you a salesman?”  Apparently, I was doing what I often do in a conversation with others . . . talking too much.

It’s time I concentrate on these three simple rules for participating in a conversation with others:
  • Subdue the I. The world is not always interested in my experiences.
  • Be “you” centered. Focus the conversation on others.
  • Do not interrupt.  It is insulting and degrading to the speaker.

According to Confucius, humility is the solid foundation of all virtues, and Jesus said, “The meek shall inherit the earth,” and “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  
"I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps."                        Mahatma Gandhi